- Associated Press - Saturday, December 23, 2017

UNADILLA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska bikers may have a new place to train and practice jumps, flips and other high-flying tricks year-round, particularly during the snowy winter months.

Karl Hinkley hopes to open the doors of a heated freestyle BMX park near Unadilla before next winter, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Hinkley and his team of volunteers broke ground on the indoor park in October, which he promises will always be free and open to the public.

Hinkley said it’ll be like an indoor skate park but for bikes. They’re planning to accommodate 20 to 30 riders at a time in the space with ramps, jumps, a foam pit and a seating area for parents.

BMX racers in the state are often at a disadvantage because there are little to no places to train during the winter.

“We’re trying to make history here,” Hinkley said. “My goal is to have this be the last winter we ever spend in Nebraska where bicycle kids don’t have a place to go.”

Hinkley and his wife own a BMX store that sells frames, handlebars and clothing. They also run a BMX acreage in Otoe County, about 20 miles east of Lincoln.

Hinkley said people ask him all the time how he can afford to pursue this project for free. “My answer is, ‘How can we not afford to do this?’”

“The majority of kids are low-income and they don’t have a lot,” said Hinkley. “Bicycling can be an expensive sport and I don’t think we should shut the door on kids because they don’t have much.”

They have fundraised $18,500 so far for the facility. Hinkley said he’ll need to fundraise up to $50,000 to complete the park with volunteer labor. He said without volunteers, he would need three times that amount.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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